Recycle, reduce, reuse
Electronic Waste Language Lesson – Our Old Phones

Electronic Waste Language Lesson – Our Old Phones

Why an Electronic Waste Language Lesson?

We should consider an electronic waste language lesson because almost everyone has a smartphone and we all like to talk about them. Added to this, our smartphone is an object with a very negative environmental impact. Therefore it makes sense to talk about our phones, consider the impact of electronic waste and look at ways to mitigate this impact, such as realising that the most environmentally friendly phone you can get is the one currently in your pocket – not the ones in the shop. It’s a topic everyone has something to say about and so will motivate your students to speak.

the most environmentally friendly phone you can get is the one currently in your pocket

Outcomes to Electronic Waste Language Lesson

Learners will practice understanding advanced texts, vocabulary on the topic of climate change and increase understanding of an important issue, electronic waste.


What do you think the ‘sadness’ in the title refers to?

  1. the waste from throwing away old mobile phones
  2. the memories associated with your old mobile phone
  3. the environmental damage caused by mobile phones in their production, use and disposal

Guess which one, and watch the video to check if you are right. (Answers at bottom of page)

Check your understanding

Are the following true or false? How do you know?

  1. The presenter likes nature and and he likes technology.
  2. Most of the environmental damage caused by phones is caused when we throw them away.
  3. There is a company called Fairphone that makes phones that are easy to repair.
  4. The battery is the most toxic part of a phone.
  5. Liam the robot can take apart an iPhone 6 in 1 minute.
  6. New technology could reduce the environmental impact of phones.

(Answers at bottom of page)

Language point

Put the words in the right space.

  1. I love phones and computers. I’m a _______.
  2. A reason that the ___________ are so high is because of the fuel used to transport them around the world in production, assembly and distribution.
  3. Container ships cause more _______ than all the cars in the world.
  4. It is more common to _______ cars than phones.
  5. Lithium is a ______ component in batteries. It’s really bad for your health.

a. toxic b. greenhouse gas emissions c. repair d. smog e. techie

What do you think?

Go and speak to someone about the following, or post your views as a comment here.

  • How can we reduce electronic waste?
  • Who is responsible – individuals, corporations or the government?
  • Will a technological solution come along or do we have to take responsibility?


Preparation Number 3 is the correct answer

Check your understanding 1. True. 2. False, it’s before we buy them. 3. True. 4 False; it’s 11 seconds. 5. True. 6. True

Language point 1.e 2.b 3.d 4.c 5.a

How do you deal with the topic of electronic waste in your classes? If you have any ideas, share them in the comments or via the contact page!

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